April 5, 2009
BRONX, N.Y. - The Saint Joseph's baseball team swept a doubleheader from the Fordham Rams on Sunday, taking game one, 11-5, and game two, 6-5, at Houlihan Park. The wins put SJU at 5-4 in league play for the season.
In the first game, windy conditions wreaked havoc, but the Hawks used four early runs on their way to ending their five-game losing streak with the 11-5 win.
Saint Joseph's (10-15-1, 5-4 Atlantic 10) scored twice in the first on an RBI triple by David Valesente and a wild pitch. The Hawks extended the lead to 4-0 in the second inning after Ben Wendle led off with a single before moving to second on a wild pitch. He went to third on a groundout and after Mike Coleman walked, a failed pickoff allowed Wendle to score. Coleman would eventually come around to score on a passed ball.
Fordham (10-17, 6-3 Atlantic 10) scored a run in the third to cut the lead to three, but SJU got a sacrifice fly from Dewey Oriente in the fifth to go up 5-1. A sacrifice fly by Wendle in the sixth gave the Hawks a five-run lead.
The Rams got back within one in the bottom half of the frame on a sacrifice fly and a three-run home run by Stephen McSherry.
Saint Joseph's extended the lead to 7-5 in the eighth on an RBI single by Mike Boyland and cemented the win with a four-run ninth that featured an RBI double, a two-run error and a bunt single.
A.J. Holland moved to 2-2 with the win, going 5.1 innings and giving up five runs on six hits. He struck out three while walking two. Chris Hildreth went the final 3.2 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three to earn his third save of the season. Jake Rabinowitz started for Fordham but was chased in the second inning; he falls to 1-1 on the year.
In the nightcap, a ninth-inning insurance run turned out to be crucial as the Hawks came away with a 6-5 win. Randy Mower improved to 3-3, working eight innings for the second time in three outings. In the game, Saint Joseph's batters were hit by a pitch 10 times, a new school record.
Fordham jumped ahead early, taking a 2-0 first inning lead on an RBI triple and a sacrifice fly by Angelo Ponte.
The Hawks knotted it up right away, however, as an RBI single by Coleman and a bases-loaded walk to Mike Plakis brought a pair of runs home.
Saint Joseph's took the lead in the top of the fourth as the Hawks pushed three more runs across. Wendle was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning (one of a record-tying three hit by pitches in the game for the senior) and advanced to second on a bunt single by Mike Blahusch. After Coleman was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Plakis hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Wendle. A single by Matt Barnathan re-loaded the bases before everyone moved up on a wild pitch, allowing Blahusch to score. Two batters later, Drew Smith flied out to left, bringing Coleman in.
Shane Fox had an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 5-3 before Blahusch hit into a fielder's choice to score Smith from third in the top of the ninth to restore the three-run lead.
That set up a dramatic bottom of the ninth as John Kahn led off with a single. SJU coach Fritz Hamburg then summoned Barnathan, who started at designated hitter, in to take over for Mower. Ryan McCrann singled and both runners advanced on a passed ball to put runners on second and third with nobody out. A groundout and a sacrifice fly each scored a run. After a walk to Danny Leach brought the winning run to the plate, Fordham slugger Bobby DiNardo hit a fly ball to the warning track in right that was squeezed by Wendle for the final out.
Mower gave up four runs and nine hits while striking out three and walking one. Barnathan earned his first career save for the Hawks, while John Flanagan took his first loss of the season for Fordham, falling to 3-1.
With his eighth-inning double, Valesente extended his season-best hitting streak to 10 games. In addition, all nine batters in the Hawk starting lineup notched a base hit.
The Hawks will host Delaware on Tuesday at Latshaw-McCarthy Field in the semifinals of the Liberty Bell Classic. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.; live stats and streaming audio will be available at SJUHawks.com.